Puerto Rico’s Energy Grid Literally Blew Up As Hundreds Of Thousands Still Sit Without Power

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

A blackout hit parts of Puerto Rico Sunday after an explosion and fire disrupted the power supply at a substation, CNN reported.

A mechanical failure and the resulting fire knocked out electricity to most of northern Puerto Rico and some of the island’s capital, San Juan. Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) lost about 400 megawatts of power generation.

Most customers were expected to have power back Sunday night, while the rest should have power restored Monday afternoon, according to CNN.

Puerto Rico’s aged grid was devastated when a Category 4 hurricane passed over the island five months ago. PREPA has been working to restore power on the island since, but 400,000 customers are still without power, ABC News reported.

The storm, Hurricane Maria, caused about $94 billion in damage to Puerto Rico’s dated energy grid that is three times older than the industry average.

PREPA, worth about $4 billion, is $9 billion in debt and has been heavily criticized for inefficiency and corruption. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced in January he would be privatizing the state-run utility in an attempt to cut the island’s significant debt burden, about $70 billion, according to Politico.

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